Appearing a certain way online, in today’s world, is very important. The world seems to have upgraded from “the way you dress is the way you will be addressed” to “the way you present yourself online is the way you will be perceived.” Today, people’s fixation on presenting themselves a certain way on social media now has a name: personal branding. ‘Branding’ on social media means you have to be consistent with your online appearance and in a certain way too. This ‘certain way’ is, in turn, heavily dependent on the things you post online. These things are called content.
If you are a doctor who consistently posts health-related issues on social media, you are building your brand as a health expert. If you are a professional in any field, what you post online determines how seriously people will take you. As a matter of fact, it is your ‘content’ that makes people determine whether or not you’re a professional.
This world of social media is now built in such a way that every single thing you post is meant to “tell people about who you are and what you do,” so people are conscious of who they present themselves to be online, the kind of things they say, and the perception people could have of them on social media.
This, in itself, isn’t a bad thing, but it seems to have also given rise to a new obsession with content creation. Because people want to present themselves as professionals in their field, many now seem to be turning every incident or event into a learning point, life tips, or advice for others – as opposed to just being. People are saying things they wouldn’t ordinarily say so they can be seen a certain way. People seem to be forced to create content so they can maintain a personal brand.
Building a personal brand is important, but at what point do we start living as opposed to milking content from everything that happens to us, or creating content from even the most mundane things? At what point do we realise that we do not need to share 28 life lessons we have learned just because we clocked 28 and it’s okay to just enjoy our birthday? Or talk about lessons we learned from cutting our nails instead of, you know, just cutting our nails? Do we really have to position ourselves in a certain way online? Is personal branding really needed? Can’t we do without it?
Many people are of the opinion that to forge ahead in today’s world, you have to position yourself for opportunities, and part of this positioning is content creation and personal branding. The belief is that most of these opportunities are online and the way people perceive you determines if they will extend these opportunities to you or not. Others are of the opinion that social media should be a place of fun, and we shouldn’t have to ‘brand’ ourselves a certain way or constantly create content to keep up. That personal branding has a way of making people not be their true selves online because they are conscious of the things they post, as opposed to just being. They believe that one’s personality shouldn’t become a brand and everyone should love freely without thinking of churning out content to keep up. Some also say the idea of personal branding has been flogged too often, if you really want to give me a job, what does it matter if nothing about my social media shows my professional side?
What say you? Is the idea of personal branding, content creation, or positioning oneself online overstretched? Can we do without personal branding?
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